Hekla and the Global Positioning System

Top off Hekla. Photograph from Trecking in Iceland.

Top off Hekla. Photograph from Trecking in Iceland.

There are occasions when you as an expert in the field write something short and to the point and you expect everyone else to be able to follow you. As you find out that people well and truly did not follow you it is very important to remember that it was you as an expert who failed miserably in explaining yourself.

I have previously been the CEO of two companies developing sensor equipment and I have done extensive consultancy work on, among other things, stealth radar equipment. I have also down the line worked quite a bit with the Global Positioning System. Currently I am busy with forming a startup company together with a few others (some who write extensively here) with the goal of building remote sensoring equipment, and I am the guy developing hands on the GPS unit. Also, I wrote my thesis in the exact crossing between quantum and relativistic physics that defines the formulations behind the Global Positioning System.

GPS and Volcanoes

The GPS is one of the principal tools in the arsenal of any volcanologist. With a system of GPSs you can detect magma moving into a system and you can even calculate to a certain degree the amount of magma that is on the prowl.

Most often at a volcano you can detect a large scale movement prior to an eruption (Bradyseism) and during the duration of the eruption you can follow how the magma reservoir empties out as magma comes out in the form of lava and or tephra. The perfect example of this is the 2010 eruption at Eyjafjallajökull.

GPS-station Thorvaldseyri showing the GPS-motions for the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. Image from Icelandic Met Office.

GPS-station Thorvaldseyri showing the GPS-motions for the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. Image from Icelandic Met Office.

You can also see how long term changes affect both volcanoes and faultlines as stress builds up and how it releases in the form of eruptions and earthquakes.

All in all a GPS is a wonderful tool. Only problem is that it has become to trusted on some occasions and it is also much too easy to over-interpret what one sees over a short term period. So, I thought I should write about some shortcomings of the GPS and use Hekla as an example. And since I am me it will also go on at length about my favorite volcano.

GPS and Hekla

There have been quite a few reports about movements on the GPSs of Hekla lately, both from amateurs and in media quoting professionals. The very short answer would be “Horseradish”. This is of course a particularly stupid answer, instead let us get down and dirty on Hekla and the Global Positioning System.

I have written extensively on Hekla and her lack of ability to do anything in the normal way of volcanoes. So it should be no surprise that Hekla doesn’t do the Global Positioning System thing the same way as other volcanoes.

In short, Hekla does not show any sudden inflation prior to an eruption, she does not deflate during the eruption, and she does not change her pattern immediately after an eruption.

GFUM-station showing the pattern leading up to and after the 2011 eruption of Grimsvötn. The odd changes early this year was Ice on the antenna. Image from Icelandic Met Office.

GFUM-station showing the pattern leading up to and after the 2011 eruption of Grimsvötn. The odd changes early this year was Ice on the antenna. Image from Icelandic Met Office.

What she does do is inflate at an incredibly steady rate. This motion pattern is highly simple to predict onwards into the future. A more normal volcano like Eyjafjallajökull suffers at least one intrusive period, then goes dormant again before a final massive intrusion prior to the eruption. But there are of course variations on the theme, Grimsvötn also have a steady rate of inflation leading up to the eruption, but during the eruption she rapidly deflates, and after the eruption there is a rapid hyperinflation most likely caused by compensational melting at the mantle/crust-boundary (MOHO).

Image from Icelandic Met Office.

Image from Icelandic Met Office.

If we take a look at the Isakot (ISAK) GPS we can see that the pattern is as stable as I described above. Due to Isakot not being a continuous GPS until 2002 we can’t see the eruption at it, but we can marvel at the stability. We can also note that it is “wavy” on the UP-component. These are seasonal variations caused mainly by differences in thickness of the atmosphere during the year.

But, we know that Hekla has an UP-component of 1.5cm per year, EAST-component is -0.63cm and that the NORTH-component is 1.9cm. If we now calculate a trajectory for the station we see that it is moving north and away from Hekla towards west.

Image from Icelandic Met Office.

Image from Icelandic Met Office.

Now, let us take a look at the Mjóaskard (MJSK) station. It is on the opposite side of both Hekla mountain and on the other side of the fissure. This station has been online since late 2005 and is therefore looking a bit less precise when compared to ISAK. The UP-component is 1.5cm, EAST-component is 0.2cm and the NORTH-component is 0.85cm.

Image from the Icelandic Met Office.

Image from the Icelandic Met Office.

ISAK and MJSK are almost exactly on a north/south angle from each other with Hekla in between. There is no station close by to the east of them, but there is a good one almost directly east of MJSK, the venerable old Haukadalur station (HAUD). UP-component is once again 1.5cm, EAST is -0.45cm and NORTH is 1.45cm. Fairly the same trajectory here as for ISAK.

Image from the Icelandic Met Office.

Image from the Icelandic Met Office.

Now we should probably compare all of this with the station closest to the top of Hekla. Right off I should say that this station picked up quite clearly the Bradyseism of Eyjafjallajökull, so briefly it changed from going stably to the north it made a little knee. UP is 1.13cm, EAST is 0cm and NORTH is 1.5cm and if we correct for the Eyjafjallajökull-knee we get a north component of 1.6cm. Here we can see that there is no EAST motion due to it being right on top of the Hekla Volcanic Fissure. We can also decide that Hekla is actually moving Northwards on all stations, but faster at the center and on the western side of the fissure. The big surprise here is that Hekla Mountain is having a slower uplift than stations further away. The reason for this is that the weight of the mountain is pulling it downwards through the very thin and malleable crust. The reason for the crust being malleable is that it is very hot right up to just under the surface.

Conclusion

First off I should state that there are changes on the GPS exactly when Hekla erupts, but these changes are caused by the opening up of the mountain and not by magma movement. After the eruption the mountain resets to the previous value.

All of this leads to a couple of rather stunning conclusions; the first is that Hekla is not a Volcano. Instead we can see that Hekla is a Volcanic Fissure between two independently moving microplates. We can also see that the fissure is being pushed apart at an even rate of 0.65cm per year East-West and 1cm North-South and that this is quite enough to keep the fissure open at length and all the way down to the Mohorovic-boundary. This theory is also conformant with the even rate of inflation of Hekla, as the magma forms due to decompression melt it expands as it moves upwards due to gas release giving an added volume explaining the excess uplift. As the volcano erupts it causes an imediate pressure drop at depth causing the decompression melt to accelerate which compensates for the ejected material. The next little evidence in the chain is that if decompression melt did not occur at a highly increased rate during an eruption Hekla would slump downwards, or even fall into itself creating a Graben or a caldera formation.

I have really tried to reconcile Hekla´s characteristics with the more standardized models of magma chamber setup and inflation-models, but in the end an obloid fissure open at depth is the only solution I could come up with that explains all of her oddities. In my previous post on Hekla I wrote about the other reasons, but then I failed to explain the GPS part. Mea culpa!

I hope that everyone now understands that Hekla is not bulging anywhere, at least not more than she has bulged for 8000 years. Some of you might also have discovered something funny. It is often claimed that Hekla in 2006 had more magma in her magma-reservoir than prior to her 2000 eruption. This is of course horseradish; she had the same amount of magma before erupting as she had after erupting, no more and no less.

CARL

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124 thoughts on “Hekla and the Global Positioning System

  1. If you all look at the various GPS plots for the 3 volcanoes. Please do note how often you have weird things jumping all sorts of ways that lead to absolutely nothing. This is what I reference to as “noise” in the GPS-signature. There can be lots of different reasons for it, but it basically boils down to faulty signals.
    Try to remember this the next time your favourite volcano throws an oddball.

      • What other factors can cause faulting in the equipment? And what other factors can give variations in readings, besides seasonal atmospheric variations?

        • I could list close to a hundred reasons straight out of the top of my head. Weather, atmosphere, magnetic fluctuations, solar storms, different satellites in the mix (some satellites are old and crappy). dust in the atmosphere or on the antenna… the list just goes on and on really. My favourite of all time is time-dilation 🙂

        • Don’t forget the seemingly haphazard “new day” that they do. I know it’s not actually haphazard, it just seemed that way.

  2. A very nice read Carl.

    “This is of course horseradish; she had the same amount of magma before erupting as she had after erupting, no more and no less” well, this is highly unlikely, at least a few ml/L more or less it should have. Of course, I am picking on you now 🙂

    Not sure if my thinking is correct here, but assuming it keeps the same net volume before and after eruption and it keeps a constant UP movement, then it should actually have 1.4x more magma than before, since the constant UP movement has been going on for 14 years instead of the 10 years before 2000. A very rough estimate of course, and 1.4x is not that significant.

    Actually Hekla erupts in a fashion of quite good correlation between its intensity (VEI)/ volume of tephra, and the period of sleep before the eruption. So most likely we should expect an eruption, if in soon, to be similar in size to the previous ones since 1970, just slightly bit stronger. Of course, she could behave differently, like Grimsvotn did in 2011, catch a fresh intrusion of hotspot magma, and go much bigger, but this is probably unlikely.

    Carl, I am still very curious to know how you are so sure and certain that the movements in Grimsfjall station earlier this year were due to ice formation. I mean you can think that it’s ice, but you seem confident it’s ice without any doubt. I want to know why, which evidence you have.
    Do you got that information from IMO? Because otherwise without confirming the presence of the ice on the station itself, on person, for me its just a theory/your guess without any physical evidence.

    Returning to Hekla. I agree that Hekla behaves more like a fissure instead of a central volcano. The eruption just happen there, because that’s due to the whole edge shape of the whole microplate thing, and tension/decompression/melting of magma. A bit west, and faults slide in a fracture seismic zone. A bit east, and the fissure continues, but it seems to behave entirely different, not only at the dead zone but also Torfajokull.

    • In regards of Grimsvötn.
      As I saw it happening I noticed that it had the same exact pattern as previous iceings that was later removed. It happened during a snowstorm and also generally Grimsvötn has never had a motion like that recorded that is not ice. So I felt confident about it back then being ice. Now we know it is ice and it has been reported as such.
      Irpsit, this is exactly why I time and again warn people from making hasty assumptions about GPSs, they are very prone to show errors.

  3. Great
    The part with the weight of the structure is crystal clear !

    thanks Carl. Is the charts’ data available ?

    • If you mean if the individual data-points are available? Sadly no. I asked Sigrún Hreinsdottir if we could get access to the data-points but the answer was no since they are using it for scientific research and it can not be given out before publication is made.

      • Well, in that case I’ll wish Sigrun swift easy writing and a lack of tribulation re the publication (and not just in that case, but in general anyway).

      • In the end the only difference is that it would be easier for us to not have to handextract all the data. In the end we always get there anyway 🙂

    • that sounds like a plotter – hopefully about to show each of the stations mentioned above moving in 3D over time ? possibly ‘stretching’ a hekla shaped surface with their motion? fingers crossed 🙂

      • hhmm, it will be harder than that. If I get position, up/down variation and time I can do something….from 2D to 3D you need to to exaggerate the deformation but it could be done.

      • At the time, I was the one clamoring the most for the data. Believe me, If had had gotten my hands on it, it would have been plotted. The reasons that were given for it’s non-availability were sound and I sulked off to my corner to wait. Throughly enjoying (and impressed by) the plotting skills that other were showing with the available data of other volcanoes.

  4. Far out, I hadn’t realized quite how large these shifts were over time. That’s almost half a meter over ten years in some of those charts! Crikey.

  5. Thanks for dashing my hopes! 😦 I was in Iceland back in 2004 and we didn’t have the time to hike Hekla. Since 2009, I have been wanting to go back to hike it, but the short warning it gives made me decide to wait until after the next eruption.

    When I saw all the news reports that things were escalating, I was hoping she would go in the next few months and I could plan my trip! Back to the waiting game.

    • As I have said before, anywhere from next hour to the next 50 years. I do though doubt that she will wait for so long.
      In the end judging from the late earthquake activity I would say that probably sooner than later.

      • Thank you. I assumed that was your assessment. The “thanks for dashing my hopes” part was mostly kidding. Once I saw all of the news sources posting stories, I patiently waited for you to do a write up.

        Even 50 years is a blink of an eye in geologic time. I really hope she goes soon.

        Knowing my luck, the first earthquake will be when I reach the top!

        • Well, I would not go to the top of Hekla whatever someone offered me to do it. And there are few volcanoes that I would actually stay away from. From a geological standpoint she is a baby, and we do not know a lot of volcanic babies, especially when they have the characteristics of Hekla. But she seems to follow the standard baby-paradigm and barf a lot.

          • Never? Or just not after a long break in activity. I realize that there is always a risk to be on an active volcano, but I would assume that after a good purging, that risk would be minimized.

  6. And where does the sinusoidal upper trend comes from ?. Some earth tides ? Seasonal drift (ice, snow, affecting the signal there is a annual minimum around may I think)

    • The same pattern goes for every northern GPS. To my great surprise I could not find any good paper on why. First I thought it was snow-loading, but then I noticed that the max-minima are off for that explanation. Max snow would be in early february and minimum snow would be late july. In the end it dawned on me that it is speed change of the GPS signal due to thicker atmosphere in the and that the spike of atmosphere thickness is around late may early june, and it panned out with data from NASA/JPL. (Had to do the science myself there).
      Part of it should though be snow loading.

    • I think Carl answered that in the article – where he said ‘These are seasonal variations caused mainly by differences in thickness of the atmosphere during the year.’ but I may have misunderstood either your question or what his explanation refered to 🙂

  7. And finally are there similar examples on the African rift ?
    You have a rare talent for what we call in french “Vulgarisation scientifique”.

    • Not a single clue. I sadly do not have access to enough GPSs to say anything about that area. Would be cool to know though.
      Merci!

        • Only problem is that Krafla is not behaving as Hekla does. Krafla goes through episodes of uplift and deflation that looks to be in a striking pattern together with Askja and Theistareykjarbunga. If either of Askja or Theistareykjarbunga inflates Krafla deflates. It is a whole other bag of oddity going around there 🙂

          • There could be a volcano like Hekla somewhere there, but it would need to be close to a plume head and on an intersection of two microplates rotating away from each other. I am not saying there is not one like Hekla, but I have never found one.

    • If I remember correctly, I believe that most of the african rift volcanoes have very little research on them. Sure the ones that are constantly erupting such as Nyiragango, Donyo Lengai and company get a good amount of publicity since it’s easy for people to sign off on providing research funding for an erupting volcanic center. But the other volcanoes that don’t regularly erupt like Mauna Loa are very tough to find extensive research on.

      There are some pretty legitimate caldera systems larger than Campi Flegrei in the African rift that were not produced via effusive eruptions too, it’s a shame there isn’t more info out there. The Awasa caldera is quite massive at 30×40

  8. One thing I do not know is if the figures in Iceland are re-calibrated for isostatic rebound. That is the amount the ground goes up to recompensate for the glacier above during the ice-age.
    I basically have at home the same type of GPS that are installed during the last couple of years in Iceland. It shows an annual uplift of 0.83cm every year due to isostatic rebound. The figure would be lower for Iceland, but it should still be there. Here it is though much easier to see since my GPS sits on the most stable part of continental crust on the planet, the Baltic Shield, a particularly thick and stable slab of craton.
    I can also see exactly the same sinusoidal wave-pattern that is visible in Iceland due to annual pattern-changes.

  9. Thanks Carl . Even I understood this 🙂 Yes a fissure between two micro plates makes sense and does explain the movements that had me confused for ages. 🙂
    .

  10. So not really a volcano but a fissure, Yeah the way you explain it, it does make sense.
    Thanks
    Btw we are at 110,941 Comments.. 111111 coming soon!

    • So, somewhere either tomorrow night or friday night someone will write a tired rumination on something utterly bizarre and become the happy 111 111 commenter 🙂

  11. Carl, very interesting article. Your ‘fissure not a volcano’ thesis has some legs, but it doesn’t explain the variability of Hekla’s eruptive strength. More recently it’s thrown VEI 2s and 3s, but go back a bit and things have been significantly more violent, with strong 4s and pretty strong 5s – and much longer repose periods.

    What do you think is the driving mechanism, in terms of the fissure, melt generation, and magma storage, which explains the differences in eruptive strength and repose periods? How do you square those differences with “she had the same amount of magma before erupting as she had after erupting, no more and no less”?

    And, given that you believe the processes beneath Hekla are, pretty much, smoothly continuous, what do you think governs the timing of a Hekla eruption? What’s the trigger?

    • I answered a lot of those questions in my previous Hekla post, but here goes a repetition 🙂
      Hekla basically functions as a refinery colon. Due to it being open-ended the heat is sufficient to refine out the lighter more volatile silicates and carry them to the top of the magma-stack faster than is normal in a volcanic system. Regardless of this it takes time for the process to operate so there will be less more explosive magma the shorter the repose period. By now the main bulk of the effusives will be lava and not tephra.
      I think the main force behind the fissure is the rotation of the western microplate, but it is probably by now aided by the magma production. Melt generation is most easilly explained by decompression melt. If you pull something apart you get lowered pressure. If you did not have decompression melt we would see rapid deflation of the area.
      My guess is that the repose periods have shortened for two reasons. One is that the fissure gradually have grown closer to the surface so the crust on top can withstand less pressure, also the volume of magma is bigger so sufficient pressure will build up due to release of more gasses.
      In my previous post I talked more about this. I should say that I am using data presented in Erik Sturkells ingenious paper published in 2013 that I referenced in my last article. I just came to a very different conclusion when I operated in that Hekla de facto is a fissure (and that is well known, it is not my idea at all).

      • That makes sense so far. So your thinking on repose time is that it’s to do with vertical development of the fissure, and accumulating magma, rather than a heavy tectonic influence from variations in microplate movement and stress patterns?

        Re. the nature of the eruptions, I wasn’t concerned so much with explosivity (the silicate proportion on the top of the magma column as a function of fractionation over time is clear) as volume; a VEI 5 is a much higher volume than a 2 or 3 obviously. So what’s your thinking on the difference between them in terms of the fissure? Does a 5 reflect a fissure down to the lower-level source that stays open wider and/or for longer? Or is that much higher a volume of eruptible magma accumulating in the system at a higher level?

        • Oh the joys of having written a long answer that disappears…
          I think that the only change in the pattern to occur was when the Hreppar plate started to amble about. Around 8 000 years ago a lot of volcanoes at the other end went dormant and that could be related.

          Sturkells analysis is based on a normal model for a stratovolcano. From empirical data he found evidence of 50 meter wide stack running from about 2-4km with a possible magma reservoir starting at 4km depth. From that reservoir the conduit continued downwards to what he interpreted as the top of another reservoir at 15km that could be open at depth.
          All I ever did was really to switch the model from the regular strato modell (Mogi) to an obloid and things just snapped into place. Think of an obloid as the water section of this boat, but the waterline is instead the Mohorovic-discontinuity. The smallest and thinnest area (deepest point of the keel) is right under Hekla and the widest and longest part is facing the mantle. The obloid-model also does away with the magma reservoirs and has a larger net volume than the Mogi-point model.
          From this model you get a system with a high heat convection with high turnaround of refinement of silicic rich evolved magmas that have an easy and fast route up to the top of the magma stack. And that conforms to Heklas unusually fast accumulation of evolved magmas. It also accounts for Heklas Biggest Oddity, that she changs from highly evolved silicic rich explosive eruption to basal effusive eruption as fast as in 1 minute.

          This is not a perfect image, the end of the keel should be narrower, and in reallity the width of the crack is only 50 – 65 meters wide while it is probably 20 kilometers or more long at the bottom and gets progressively less long the closer you get to the surface. At the apex you find the mountain. You should turn the boat upside down in your heads 🙂
          Image and video hosting by TinyPic

          • Hekla on the top has sort of a 50 meter wide plateau. In that, you can see fissures about 5-10 meters wide that go long, really long, sometimes you see them lining in parallel along that narrow 50 meter wide plateau. You don’t see the entire expression of the fissure but I guess overall it goes along 8km long. So yes, i think your obloid model is basically spot on.

            • The fissure actually continue quite far out from the Hekla fissure you are describing that opens up as the moutain erupts. The fissure extends 15km to the SSW and 5 km to NNE. To the SSE you can see them as a very low mountain range formed in older fissure eruptions, but to the north it is by now covered by lava flows and ash.

            • Yep looks like time to haul’er out for a bit of paint -been there, done that…;-)
              Note new server-one run by a retired rocket scientist!! finally free from Gigabite
              restrictions!!!
              speaking of GPS-my boss has a Garmin 1000 series in his helo (MD 500E) virtual
              terrain, and what is called “Highway in the sky” if you screw up the approach- you had
              to do it on purpose…
              Amazing.

  12. Something just dawned on me in regards of Hekla.
    It is normally stated that Heklas eruptios are bigger when there has been a longer repose period. This is true that the eruptions are more violent due to more magma having had time to evolve. In the beginning of Heklas life she did most of her eruptions as tephra only. At around the time of inhabitation the pattern changed and she started having explosive/effusive eruption at shorter intervalls, and from 1947 onwards the erutions have come pretty regularly.
    But at the same time as there is less tephra there is markedly more lava. The difference is really not that big in how much ejecta is being released if we count together the lava and the tephra.
    Let us now ponder that the fissure has grown in volume for the last 8000 years and the particular characteristics I wrote about above it is not so far fetched to imagine that the increased size has something to do with the decreasing repose time. In another 1 000 years we might see a completely different Hekla having effusive only eruptions every two or three years and a volcano growing hundreds of meters in hight per century.
    (highly speculative on my part)

    • Highly speculative on my part – imagining the the melt is formed as a result of decompression when the microplates rotate. I thought to myself – I bet the microplates are not neat circular objects. So I’m going to imagine I have a model in which they are perfect 2 x1 rectangles sitting next turn each other.
      perhaps they both have a long side next to each other at the start, and then one or other at random turns 90 degrees.

      so how much decompression do you get when the two long edges are torn apart, and it ends up looking like the letter T, it seems like it would be more than when that T twists and ends up back as an =
      but then again if those were blades on a whisk the amount of mixture pushed around would be similar – just in different spots.

      So then stepping back toward reality I wondered what ‘shapes’ the microplates are meant to be, and whether some configurations resulted in more/less ‘mixture’ being pushed around by their rotation (if I put that back in my model)

      And if that affected the amount and type of decompression melt ??
      Please pick holes in the idea 🙂 would the microplate shapes have any impact on the melt formation, if so would there eventually be a cycle once the alignments returned to the original configuration, could it be bringing slightly different material to the centre of the mixing bowl, and thus altering the nature of the rocks available for decompression melting 🙂

    • At current rate Hekla will get pretty big in soon, and the tallest mountain in Iceland. It grew 50 meters more back in 1947, then it grows a little bit, probably a couple of meters more these last eruptions, every ten years or so (at least due to pilling lava and ash).

      It is now nearly 1500 meters high. Assuming a conservative 50 meters more per century, it will be near 2100 meters high, or as high as Bardarbunga and Oraefajokull in around the year 3000 (which are both caldera). And around an astonishing 3000 meter high mountain 3000 years from now.

      It will eventually go caldera. It cannot reach that much high. Geologically speaking, we are just a blink of a eye before Hekla caldera eruption. Most likely it will go when it reaches between 1700 and 2000 meters high. Many volcanoes are 1000 meters high in Iceland, but few are above 1500 meters high, and most have gone caldera.

      I estimate Hekla will go caldera most likely 400 to 1000 years from now.
      This is a bold prediction I know…

      • I am not entirely sure that Hekla will go caldera that fast.
        Before 1947 eruption she was 1447 meters high, so she has grown about 54 meters. During that period she has sagged quite a lot due to the weight of the edifice, sadly we do not know how much in absolute terms, but the peak has a net height loss every year.
        The elevation of height also depends on what part of Hekla that opens up, if the main action is at the top she would grow faster. But something like 60 meters per century seems quite feasible.
        As long as she keeps to the current pattern it is more likely that the edifice will continue to sag down untill a Graben is formed along the eastern and western sides compared to going caldera. But if she instead went dormant for a couple of hundred years the caldera would be the likelier option.
        However, I doubt that Hekla will reach 2000 meters anytime soon, the crust is just not strong enough to contain that type of weight. The speed of the sagging will just increase untill some sort of equilibrium is achieved. This might actually be the reason why Hekla has changed pattern twice since a downward force could aid the ease with which the mountain opens up. If so the rate of eruptions wiill increase over time.

        • “…untill a Graben is formed along the eastern and western sides compared to going caldera. But if she instead went dormant for a couple of hundred years the caldera would be the likelier option.

          The latter doesn’t sound right to me. If Hekla has no magma storage chamber > erupted magma is replaced immediately directly from the Moho > no void, no caldera forming.

          And here comes in Mikes question, where are the differences in VEI from? If there is no reservoir, a long dormancy should not make a lot of a difference. The not erupted magma is just moving some place else. It is not accumulating volume and pressure, it is not “waiting” to erupt. The only explanation I can think of is that if the chemistry of the magma changes for some reason towards more gas rich it will want to get out at the fissure. And the more of that gas rich magma there is, the larger the output will be.

  13. Long day. Drove to the wrong town. Wound up having to go an additional several miles across a toll road and bridge and into the land of the prima donna. (Destin).

    All because some idiot somewhere in the warranty chain didn’t have the site listed as a valid consumer spot in their database.

    Wife was good enough to make me a Whiskey Sour for when I got home, now I am experimenting with Onions (including a couple of Vidalia, one of the benefits of living near Georgia.), Bell Peppers, and Squash in my Wok as my sausages sizzle of to one side.

      • Damn…. I am beyond drivable right now. It’s about now that I usually start getting worried about family members getting into trouble and stop drinking so that I can sober up. The last thing I need is to have to be somewhere and not being fit to drive. That’s one reason that I am a horrible person to drink with. If it were just the ship having a bar-b-que on the pier, all you had to do was make it across the brow with out falling in. (Jebel Ali). Due to my paranoid moderation habit, I could hold my own with quite a few, staying just lit enough to be quite happy while the rest were going for oblivion.

        • Solution could be to ordain a relative to be sober so that you can be driven to the other relative in trouble. 🙂

          • Wouldn’t work. The last thing I need to do is try to negotiate with officials while drunk. That usually doesn’t turn out well. Besides, my wife is deathly afraid of driving at night. (can’t see fer shit)

            I’m to the point now where giving the dog a hug seems like a good idea. He made one serious ruckus when a stranger showed up at the door while I was out of town. So much so that he backed up when my wife answered the door. Tooth monster just itching to take a chunk out of his arse. To my perverted way of thinking… “good doggie!”

    • Are you using Cajun Andouille sometimes ? I discovered this term lately. We have also andouilles in France, but it is not the same thing (sausage made with chitterlings). Also the Word Andouille is also an synonym to stupid.

        • Yes it’s a typical french dish. Actually the french andouillette is a staple of the “Brasserie” (some type of middle range restaurant) or grills. Some people don’t like it. It is not very expensive, for instance near home I can find good ones for about 15 €, served with french fries (of course !). Comparatively a good steak (T bone (entrecôte), but it’s smaller than in the US, about 200 g) will cost around 18-20 €.
          You have also “pure” chitterlings – les tripes – but I’m personnally not too fond.
          But there are many many other dishes (sapper’s apron, gras double) which are very famous dishes of the Lyonnaise cuisine (reputedly and justly considered as the best in France – Paul Bocuse is from Lyons)

          http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablier_de_sapeur

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyonnaise_cuisine

    • At times sub-species of rats evolve that are significantly larger than regular rats. It tends to happen where there is ample amounts of nutrient rich food, often close to the sea at old docks or dockland warehouses. Unlike normal rats they are not afraid of humans and are known to have attacked people, especially in close quarters and they do not hide in the same way normal rats do.
      Nowadays they have grown rather rare, but can still be found. The largest rat to date was 2 feet long and was found and gunned down in a firefight by a farmer. He was out looking in the barn for his two cats when he found the cats and the happily feeding rat.
      I repeat, they are rare, very rare.

      • From a nautical point of view… Warf Rats. Don’t pass out drunk on the way back to the boat, it might cost you a leg.

        • Yepp, those be the ones.
          I saw some in an old abandoned former wheat warehouse on the docks in my hometown. Just thinking about them makes my knees go wobbly.

        • Hehe, almost. Apparantly the rat charged him and he emptied out his shotgun in the rat, but if the rat had a gun he would have used it.
          And the useless and gross fact of the day. The rat is the only mammal who has his scrotum placed in front of his “gun”.

          • Port Orford had Boone and Crockett wharf rats. On old Crabber had this Standard Schnauzer
            that was known as “killer”. I swear he killed a rat a good foot+ in length he had to take him to the
            vet- the rat didn’t go down without a fight. The same Crabber had a Cat-“bruiser” a big tabby Manx-but he disappeared- one of these days a diver might find a cat skeleton encased in cement
            off the Dock-done in by the Rats…

    • I’m pretty sure you are referring to the rat. (note, gina’s response was before the Shania Twain video addition)

      For all.. Shania has Auburn hair (well, in the video she does) and fits my long standing theory about the general perception of those that carry Auburn or red hair. My idea is that since Neanderthals carried a different but similar mutation to that gene, humans have perceived redheads as a bit wild and attractive, and as such, desirable. This aided in Neanderthals being bred out of existence. As Carl notes, probably by pubescent teenage human females. (Neanderthals tended to be quite muscular based on forensic analysis of their remains) Any violence between the two species was probably driven by jealousy of such occurrences.

  14. I just tossed a slice of squash to a pure carnivore and he gobbled it right down. Likley it was because it shared the same cooking space as some tasty sausages and picked up some of the aromatics.

  15. Woot, grandkid is home from celebrating his 23rd birthday!

    So, I gave him a wireless keyboard and mouse, and a shot of my good whiskey. I told him it’s probably the best whiskey you’ll have for a while (aged 8 years). Then I gave him a shot of my (not) whiskey, told him it’s probably the worst whiskey you’ll have. (it’s also roughly twice as strong as the other… and never aged. It runs about 166 proof)

  16. What is the perfect candy for a volcanoholic?
    -Maarsbars!

    (Okay, probably time to go to bed if you giggled at that one…)

    • Well, the Hungarians will probably be quite happy. That’s like finding George Washington’s still.

    • Thanks Sherine, for the Reventador photos! I thought that volcano was so remote from all civilisation that it was almost impossible to maintain a webcam… biut it seems it is not…

  17. Grimsvötn:
    The current small swarm is not volcanic.
    It is settlement earthquakes caused by the current ongoing Jökulhlaup.

  18. Well the fissure Badarbunga- and Northeast looks busy as well. Grimsvotn has been quiet other than this flood.

  19. Nice new overhead photo of Nishinoshima from Monday this week, courtesy of Japanese Coast Guard:

    And here’s a good comparison from early December:

  20. Fuego: On Earth Alerts I found this translation of the latest Fuego report:
    “Weekly Report: 19 March-25 March 2014
    INSIVUMEH reported that during 20-21 March explosions at Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 500-800 m above the crater and drifted 9-10 km W. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m high. Later on 21 March seismicity increased. The number of explosions also increased to 7-9 moderate to strong explosions per hour. Ash plumes rose 750-950 m and drifted 15 km WSW. Shock waves vibrated structures in areas 8 km away, including Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Panimaché (8 km SW), and Morelia (9 km SW). During 22-23 March explosions generated ash plumes that rose 500-800 m and drifted 10-12 km S and SW. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m high. Ashfall was reported in Santa Sofía, Panimaché, Panimaché II (8 km SW), and Morelia. On 25 March INSIVUMEH noted that activity remained high; 8-14 explosions per hour generated ash plumes that rose 850-1,050 m and drifted 12 km W and SW. Ashfall was reported in Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) and surrounding areas. Explosions again vibrated structures in Santa Sofía, Panimaché, Panimaché II, and Morelia.
    Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)”

    Makes me wonder, why the new webcam, installed with the support of 5 organisations, apparently hosted by Michigan University, situated outside the Fuego volcano observatory – does not work since 3rd of March?

    • Inari Ilvesniemi… Wilderness Lynx. 😀 Yup ! I love my vegetable patch! A wilderness of rampant, recurring Couch grass and Bindweed. I love the moors , the tops of the Peninine Hills. They are a wilderness of bogs and heather. The Lynx? The only things I have in common with the cat mentality is independence and the love of curling up in the warm. If I could sleep on a radiator I would. I have been known to attack a rat with a machete. It had managed to come up the toilet bowl and luckily I looked before I sat! This not in England I might add. Here I content myself with catching any stray wood mice that wander into the house during winter in a catch and release trap. No unlike my Goddess namesake, I am not a hunter.

  21. Friday
    28.03.2014 12:21:04 64.009 -19.594 6.8 km 0.3 99.0 4.1 km ENE of Hekla
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:20:42 63.998 -19.586 14.2 km 0.6 99.0 4.0 km E of Hekla
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:20:26 64.008 -19.576 6.9 km 0.4 99.0 4.8 km ENE of Hekla

    • Nice triplet. Noticed them too. Are they close enough to fall into the range ‘something’s stirring’?

      • Maybe… maybe not *can be the … but not expert
        (and judging from Carls post > its not erupting at all)

    • 4 of them now showing on the may and all within one minute of each other. That certainly makes me think something is stirring! If anyone was hiking there I bet they had a shock, assuming they felt them that is.

      Friday
      28.03.2014 12:21:04 64.009 -19.594 6.8 km 0.3 99.0 4.1 km ENE of Hekla
      Friday
      28.03.2014 12:20:42 63.998 -19.586 14.2 km 0.6 99.0 4.0 km E of Hekla
      Friday
      28.03.2014 12:20:26 64.008 -19.576 6.9 km 0.4 99.0 4.8 km ENE of Hekla
      Friday
      28.03.2014 12:20:19 64.013 -19.597 0.1 km 1.3 99.0 4.2 km NE of Hekla

    • A bit spooky. One thing that I have been concerned about, is the effect of (usually small to moderate) background seismic events while people are working in that morass doing rescue and recovery. It would be fully within the range of expectation for the area.

      In a “news” broadcast about it, they showed a before and after picture of the hillside. What struck me was the presence of a headwall scarp from previous slump/slide activity in the before photo. It’s not like it wasn’t obvious that the slope had problems.

      What really turned my stomach was the media dragging out family members and drilling them until they got tears. Way to go assholes. You got your tragedy shot while the camera was shoved up their arse. I hope your karma payout draws a lot of well deserved interest.

      … stunned my wife while this was going on. I told her that there was a larger landslide going on right now. I then had to explain that there is about half a mountain in New York State that has been creeping along for several decades…. slowly slipping out into the valley.

  22. They are working hard on these Hekla quakes it seems, the count has now gone up to 6 small quakes and all within that one hour still. Very Interesting!
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:21:04 64.009 -19.594 6.8 km 0.3 99.0 4.1 km ENE of Hekla
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:20:50 63.998 -19.588 7.8 km 0.6 99.0 3.9 km E of Hekla
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:20:42 63.998 -19.586 14.2 km 0.6 99.0 4.0 km E of Hekla
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:20:38 63.996 -19.579 9.4 km 0.7 99.0 4.3 km E of Hekla
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:20:26 64.008 -19.576 6.9 km 0.4 99.0 4.8 km ENE of Hekla
    Friday
    28.03.2014 12:20:19 64.013 -19.597 5.1 km 0.5 99.0 4.2 km NE of Hekla

  23. A post would be ready, we are waiting for Carl to append the riddles and publish it. He is busy and will hopefully stop by soon.
    I just baked some orange chocolate cookies and if you want i ll add the recipe.

    • Mmmmm! Spica you temptress! The raspberries and orange, presumably makes these very healthy and good for you 😀 The Chocolate also serves as an anti depressant :D……..
      I am still tring to find an excuse as to why the Belgian Chocolate cream filled Choux pastry bun in my fridge, crying “Eat me! Eat me!”, is an essential part of my healthy living diet 😀

  24. And a Friday song in honor politicians world wide.

    Like Leeland Yee, I hope they all get caught up in their subterfuge and are arrested.

    Sidenote for Carl. I think I may have a lead on the raw seismic data for the Landslide. If I can clear my tasking for the day, I plan on getting it and converting it to an audio file.

    Correction. The MP3 is enrt your mailbox

    FFT of the main event.

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